Angela Y. Davis
January 26, 1944
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Activist, educator, author
Media mystifications should not obfuscate a simple, perceivable fact; Black teenage girls do not create poverty by having babies. Quite the contrary, they have babies at such a young age precisely because they are poor --because they do not have the opportunity to acquire an education, because meaningful, well-paying jobs and creative forms of recreation are not accessible to them... because safe, effective forms of contraception are not available to them.
You can never stop and as older people, we have to learn how to take leadership from the youth and I guess I would say that this is what I'm attempting to do right now.
When Bush says democracy, I often wonder what he's referring to.
What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the black middle class and the increasing numbers of black people who are more impoverished than ever before.
Well, we see an increasingly weaker labor movement as a result of the overall assault on the labor movement and as a result of the globalization of capital.
Well of course there's been a great deal of progress over the last 40 years. We don't have laws that segregate black people within the society any longer.
Well for one, the 13th amendment to the constitution of the US which abolished slavery - did not abolish slavery for those convicted of a crime.
The campaign against the death penalty has been - while a powerful campaign, its participants have been those who attend all of the vigils, a relatively small number of people.
That's true but I think the contemporary problem that we are facing increasing numbers of black people and other people of color being thrown into a status that involves work in alternative economies and increasing numbers of people who are incarcerated.
Radical simply means "grasping things at the root."
Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it's perhaps far more terrible than it's ever been.
Now, if we look at the way in which the labor movement itself has evolved over the last couple of decades, we see increasing numbers of black people who are in the leadership of the labor movement and this is true today.
Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo - obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.
It's true that it's within the realm of cultural politics that young people tend to work through political issues, which I think is good, although it's not going to solve the problems.
I'm involved in the work around prison rights in general.
I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.
I think that has to do with my awareness that in a sense we all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of the opportunities.
I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively.
Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America. Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.
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